“How’d you do?,” my editor asks as I roll into the city room 90 minutes later than my scheduled starting time Sunday. I manage to croak out the word “good,” then settle down to make up for lost time on the things I have to have written for Monday’s paper. I’m still sick. I should’ve taken the night off from work. Or, if I were a sane, reasonable person, I’d have taken the whole weekend off from bridge and devoted myself to bed rest and warm cups of medicinal chicken soup.
But I didn’t, even after a wretched night of sleep on Friday. I felt good enough after a shower to tell myself that I would try to get through the morning session, then maybe beg off for the afternoon. I got to the Main Transit Fire Hall Banquet Hall to discover that partner Judie Bailey also had a terrible night’s sleep and to realize that I should have brought some sort of breakfast, because (in the only lapse of hospitality all weekend) there were only doughnut holes – Tim Bits, I think – for snacks.
Despite our infirmities, however, Judie and I had a highly respectable, if not memorable, morning game – 56.70%, fifth in B overall, third in our East-West direction in that two-section, 26-table game. We collected another 1.54 master points to go with the 3.8 from Friday. I felt better. I felt better still after getting chicken soup and a salad at lunch.
It was an illusion. I crashed badly in the two-section, 20-table afternoon session. I dozed repeatedly. At one point, when we were playing Joyce Greenspan and Andrei Reinhorn, my elbow slipped off the table, suddenly jolting me awake. It was getting so bad that I was unable to follow the play of the cards – at one point, I missed an obvious trump play, then put that trump on one of Judie’s winners.
Fortunately, I woke up for the bright spot in the afternoon, a visit from two of the best players in the room – Jay Levy and Jay Costello – who were all business, as usual. After I beat their double of my 3 Spade contract on our first board, Judie put me at 4 Hearts with a jump bid on the next hand. This time they didn’t double, though I was expecting one. Here’s my holding:
Spades: 10-7; Hearts: K-Q-J-8-7-6-3; Diamonds: Q-4-3; Clubs: 10.
Levy, sitting East, led the Ace of Spades (or maybe the King, I can’t recall exactly if Costello bid his Spades – I think Levy started 1 Diamond, Judie bid 2 Clubs, Costello may have passed and I bid 2 Hearts) and Judie put down these cards, drawing a reproach from Levy when she said, “I hope I didn’t lead you down the garden path.”
Spades: 6-5-3; Hearts: A-9; Diamonds: 10-2; Clubs: A-K-Q-7-5-3.
Anyway, Levy takes the Ace-King of Spades, then gets to Costello with a Diamond. I brace for the coup de grace, the Diamond return, which would set us, but Costello wants to give Levy a chance to trump a Spade. Shucks, I’ve counted Spades, too, so I put up a trump he can’t beat – the Jack. Then I draw trump in three rounds, cross to the dummy’s long Clubs, pitch my two losing Diamonds and make 4 Hearts. Here are the East-West hands:
Spades: A-K; Hearts: 10-5-2; Diamonds: K-J-9-6; Clubs: J-9-8-4.
Spades: Q-J-9-8-4-2; Hearts: 4; Diamonds: A-8-7-5; Clubs: 6-2.
According to the hand record, North-South should only make 3 Hearts, while East-West is successful at 4 Spades. They get their revenge on the third hand – making two overtricks at 1 No Trump on a non-descript deal that the hand analysis says is only good for seven tricks in any suit in either direction.
We went downhill after that. When the partial results were posted, I started looking for our names at the bottom of the list. We were somewhere in the middle, just middle enough, in the end, to come in sixth in B in our direction. 47.39%. 0.28 of a point. Tournament total for two days – 5.62 points. I went home, had some more chicken soup and conked out.